Those Cumbersome Bible Study Tools

**As I progress through my doctoral program I will be placing some of my work on here. Please feel free to engage with me in the learning process to seek greater depth in understanding of leadership, scripture, and life.

It is possible that using tools of biblical interpretation can become cumbersome and take away from the experience of comprehending scripture. However, one could argue the idea that the use of exegetical tools, such as historical-cultural contextualization, for the purpose of better understanding scripture can create a decline in comprehension speaks more to the individual than the process.

Exegesis of scripture is the “application of the rules of interpretation” in order to understand what is meant by the passage. (Ellis, 1980, 152) This process of discovering the exact meaning of a passage is not a casual application of contemporary viewpoints, but rather a search for the original author’s intended meaning. (Ellis, 1980, 152) Unfortunately, many readers of scripture have an aversion to working and would like meaning to be handed out in a bite-sized fashion. Western society has become so fast-paced and focused on convenience that the discipline and art of working hard for things of value have become relics of a past existence. Exegesis does not fit this model of super speed understanding.

Exegesis is not casual at all, but it is “focused attention, asking questions, sorting through possible meanings” (Peterson, 2005, p.50) in pursuit of the intended message by the original author. The discipline of using tools such as historical-cultural context bring to the surface the original meaning, thus greater understanding to the reader. This pursuit of greater understanding can only result in less comprehension if individual applying the tools do not apply them with diligence, or apply them improperly. Comprehension may come slower, but it will come clearer than if the reader does not use such tools. As Christians seek understanding of scripture, and the God scripture speaks of, it is a imperative proper exegetical tools, such as historical-cultural context, are fully understood and applied.


Ellis, K. C. (1980). The nature of biblical exegesis. Bibliotheca Sacra, 137(546), 151–155.

Peterson, E. H. (2006). Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

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